A brilliant career, a succession of lovers, a child out of wedlock, and today a lover who is 19 years younger than you [Arnaud Lemaire, ex model] … Do you realize that you’re an outstanding example of a modern liberated woman?
I’m not claiming to be, but I do know I exemplify an emancipated woman, even though I never tried to be. I received a rather classical education, not at all border line. I wasn’t destined to become who I am. How I overcame this education, how I ended up working in the spotlight, even being overexposed, … I still haven’t quite figured it out.
There must have been some driving force…
I think I was subject to two influences: that of my parents, encouraging me to strive, to work and thinking that success could be achieved on a very orthodox path by moving up through the echelons of the civil service. But I also often went to my friend Isabelle’s extravert family in the south of France, who believed in enjoying life to the full. The paradox is that Isabelle had a really straight forward marriage with 3 children, when I’m the complete opposite!
[She reflects] I’ve adopted the feminist cause, that’s for sure, Nathalie Sarraute, Simone de Beauvoir, it was really important for me. But I didn’t have to fight in my family, the right to be an emancipated woman was a foregone conclusion. My mother worked, she wanted make something of herself. She became a teacher; she had children quite late in life for the time. She wouldn’t have liked, I don’t think, for her daughter to get married at 18. My parents’ greatest wish was for me to pursue my studies, be brilliant if I could, and to be financially independent.
And masculine encounters are what helped you develop…
It’s true that I have had more masculine than feminine role models. In my youth, I was already looking for boys’ company rather that girls’. On every level, men mattered more.
Do you know why?
I like to test my way of looking at things with people who are different to me.
You have hosted the news for 17 years alternating with Patrick Poivre D’Arvor, your companion for a time, and the father of your son François, 14. How did he influence your character development?
He matched my expectations, my requirements both intellectual and cultural, with an inquisitive character always awake. Professionally, people thought we were competitors, but I learnt a great deal from his virtuosity, his ability to treat subjects profoundly. No one can deny he has this quality. And then of course, we had in common a passion for writing, which brought us together and motivated me.
Wouldn’t you have written your books without him? (Claire Chazal published a biography in 1993 “Balladur” Flammarion 1995, and two novels “the teacher” in 1997 and “Why suffer?” in 2000).
I don’t know, but it is certain that with him I was up to my eyes in literature. I hope François will benefit from all of this.
Do we really know what we give to our children?
It’s my obsession. Freeing oneself from ones’ parents is a necessity albeit a guilt trip. Growing up is to no longer hold things against them, but this often comes very late in life. Even if we love them and they do the best they can, there is always something to blame them for.
Why do think of blame first?
Because I would like my relationship with my son to be only love, harmony and happiness… It’s an illusion. I know he will blame me for things, of course, and it breaks my heart. It’s a awful prospect for me.
What do you fear?
So many things…
What if he chose a life completely different from yours?
I don’t particularly want him to do the same job as us. I don’t see myself as a role model. I’m very happy to have chosen journalism, when for my parents it was kind of a busking job! I really don’t want to undermine my profession, but I’m aware of its limits. [Silence] I see my son becoming, let’s say, more “exceptional”.
Isn’t that a bit much for him?
I know I put pressure on him. Even in daily life, I ask him to behave… I would hate a sloppy child. That’s who I am, disciplined, conscientious. I always get up early. I think it’s better to be master of your day, your life, your body rather than submit to things. No?
Of course, but where’s the pleasure in all that?
Ah, that… [She sighs], it’s another thing. That’s why education is complicated. I may be too rigorous. I know it’s my family tradition. I know what my parents gave me and I am also aware of what was missing…
[A long silence] I’ve done what I wanted, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t suffered. I fought a lot against my fears, my doubts… In your last issue, Olivia Ruiz talks about the weight of her family traditions, I thought it was so interesting. My parents didn’t tell me life is sweet. They couldn’t, they had lived through war, deprivation and fear. That’s how it is. This sentence from Dolto “Don’t be afraid of life”, can seem banal but to me, it is fundamental. Life is sweet.
Your parents gave you a great deal of confidence in yourself…
It wasn’t the tests I feared, it was life. I faced up to it badly, daily life, and pleasure…
It has always been important, but I deprived myself for a long time. I got married at over 40 [with Xavier Couture, then assistant director of TF1. They divorced 3 years later]. Younger, I wanted to realise my ambitions first. Now, I can say that only feelings are important. We need an intellectual and cultural activity, but without the strength of friendship, loving passion, children interactions, life doesn’t have any meaning.
Is that what made you chose a lover who’s twenty years younger than you?
It wouldn’t have been possible 10 years ago, I’m sure of it. At that time, I was looking for worlds in which men evolved whilst hiding their real selves. Today, I’m more drawn to the truthful beings. A person who is not yet totally integrated in a social life, and that is not corrupted by money, career, the place he has in society, appears to me more pure.
Do you feel that others have judgemental regard for your couple?
Yes, and no. It’s not simple but things have changed, we age more slowly and remain active. And if you are surrounded by friends who love you, those judgemental looks don’t matter.
Is it to counter balance a chaotic private life that you have been faithful to TF1 since 1991, hosting weekend news?
TF1 is my home, I feel comfortable there. My vocation is to speak to the greatest number and to deliver in the best way possible the news. And what channel would allow this more than TF1? In any way, it’s important for me to be loved by the public, my personality drives me more to acceptance than provocation, I’m not afraid nor ashamed to say it.
Source : Psychologies.com